Sunday, 9 December 2012

Terminology

I have said before that reading Anderson requires a dictionary - sometimes more than others. During a battle in Rogue Sword (New York, 1960):

"...heaumes..." (p. 100);
"...gonfanon..." (p. 101);
" 'Desperta ferres!' " (p. 102);
"...poitrail..." (p. 102).

I think there were similar words earlier but I did not note them at the time. We miss new vocabulary as we continue reading through a passage instead of pausing to focus on an individual word.

" 'Desperta ferres!' " is immediately followed by "Wake the iron!" which turns out to be the English translation of the Latin. Not knowing this yet, I continued to read with incomprehension that the Almugavares, whose war shout was "Desperta ferres!," struck their spearheads against the stones, raising sparks. What stones? Were the enemy shielded with stones? Why blunt and damage spearheads by striking them on the ground - if that is what they were doing?

Anderson does not explain. Apparently, however, this group, the Almugavares, did shout that war cry to frighten the enemy and to invoke the military use of iron. Further, they did strike the stones underfoot in order to intimidate their enemies by raising sparks.

Like the wedge formation described in War Of The Gods, this is a detail of military history that I have learned by reading Anderson. I have yet to google the other odd words quoted above.

Addendum, 10/12/12:

"...mangonel..." (p. 115);
" '...pourpoint...' "(p. 116).

Earlier:

" '...QUEAN!' " (p. 72) (I thought this was a miss-spelling but I have googled it and it is a word.)
"...tasses..." (p. 76)
"...Turcopol..." (p. 76). ?

Further on:

"...leny...lugsail..." (p. 119); ?
"...boniface..." (p. 123)

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